Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last night

I had organized a group of people to attend a special event at a local university. They were riding in the same car, chauffeured by a young guy I had hired for the occasion. Two children, excited about being included, chattered with the amused adults. Two little girls, children of one of the women, stayed behind with me.

Sometime later my cell phone buzzed. One of the children, an eight year old girl, with cracking voice told me she was lost. After piecing together her muddled story I decided that she had gotten separated from the group, gave up searching in the building and slipped outside, hoping to find them there.

Why are you still outside? I immediately wondered, but didn’t ask because she added in a tremulous voice, “Scary-looking men are out here, and they’re looking at me. What am I going to do?” She erupted into sobs.

My blood pressure veered skyward. “Get back inside right now,” I ordered.

“I can’t” she wailed, “The door is locked!”

I thought my heart was going to thump its way right out of my chest. I couldn’t think; my brain was befuddled.

I needed to alert the chauffeur – didn't have his cell number. My frustration centered on him. Why had he not kept up with the child? I should never have used him – he’s completely irresponsible!

I raced around, trying various numbers, getting nowhere. Minutes passed. Suddenly one of the little girls quietly asked, “Do you have an altar?”

Surely I misheard her. “Have a what?” I turned to look at her. Why would she ask a totally unrelated question like that in this time of upheaval? Didn’t she see I was frantic?

Her curly head bent over a coloring book, she repeated, “An altar. You know, to pray.”

Shame slowly seeped through my being. To pray hadn’t even entered my consciousness. We, a humbled grown-up and two cherubs, retired to our knees and sought the face of God.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the dream I had last night.

Thank you, Lord.